Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has been found not responsible for the death of 22-year-old Nathaniel Skokan (pictured) who went overboard off the 12th deck of one of their cruise ships while intoxicated in 2016
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has been found not responsible for the death of a 22-year-old man who went overboard off the 12th deck of one of their cruise ships in 2016.
Nathaniel Skokan, 22, died on December 22, 2016, when witnesses say he was pretending to jump ship, but slipped and fell off the Independence of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship.
Skokan had been served 30 ounces of alcohol over a period of 12 hours before he went overboard at 1.37am, with his parents and brothers arguing in their complaint meant the cruise company ‘knew or should have known’ he was a danger to himself or others.
The federal jury in Miami disagreed, however, denying the family the $75,000 it sought in damages with its decision on Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Nathaniel died on December 22, 2016, when witnesses say he was pretending to jump ship, but slipped and fell off the 12th deck of Independence of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship. The spot where Nathaniel went overboard is shown, roped off by yellow tape
Royal Caribbean argued for the case to be decided in its favor before even going to trial. But in a motion denying summary judgment for Royal Caribbean in October, a judge wrote there was ‘ample evidence’ to be considered at trial, which began on December 10 and lasted one week.
The tragic accident happened on the fifth and final day of a cruise which started and ended at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, when the ship was off the coast of the Florida Keys.
‘Nathan, while intoxicated, made his way to the ship’s exterior 12th-floor deck with multiple passengers he had met on the cruise,’ federal district court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga wrote in October, describing some of the evidence presented to that point.
‘One of those passengers jokingly suggested they should jump overboard, pointing to the hand rail. In turn, Nathan pretended to throw himself up on the handrail, but when he went to sit on the handrail, . . . Nathan, seemingly intoxicated, lost his balance, slipped, and accidentally flipped over the ship’s railing.’
The tragic accident happened on the fifth and final day of a cruise which started and ended at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, aboard the Independence of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship (pictured)
Nathaniel’s fraternity brothers honored him after his passing by framing his intramural sports jersey and starting a Nate Skokan Memorial Scholarship. The image of the framed jersey shown was shared to social media on April 18, 2017
Evidence presented at trial showed Nathaniel had consumed at least 30 ounces of alcohol within the 12-hour period leading up to his fall, including six full-sized martinis that he had made at a martini-making class, two vodka-Red Bulls and one cognac. The family estimated Nathaniel’s blood alcohol content level was at least .256 percent.
In the lawsuit, Nathaniel’s parents, Todd and Lisa Skokan, and his brothers, Samuel and Zachary, accused Royal Caribbean of over-serving Nathaniel as part of its all-inclusive drink package, illegally detaining the family members in their cabin while officials searched for Nathaniel, as well as waiting two hours to lower rescue boats from the time the ship learned of his disappearance, and in so doing, deviating from appropriate search and rescue procedures.
The family also alleged the cruise line company of intentionally inflicting emotional distress on them by announcing their son ‘intentionally’ fell overboard, which caused grief that he may have committed suicide.
Nathaniel fell of the ship when it was off the coast of the Florida Keys, near Key Largo (shown)
Witnesses on board the ship that night said that the captain announced the fall was intentional
A travel writer with the Twitter username @CruiseNiche tweeted on December 22, 2016 at shortly after 7am: ‘Captain just announced that Coast Guard released us from the search & that the guest deliberately jumped #independenceoftheseas #manoverboard’
Witnesses who were on board the ship that night said that the captain announced the fall was intentional.
A travel writer with the Twitter username @CruiseNiche tweeted on December 22, 2016 at shortly after 7am:
‘Captain just announced that Coast Guard released us from the search & that the guest deliberately jumped #independenceoftheseas #manoverboard.’
Royal Caribbean argued in court that Nathaniel’s fall was intentional and his death was due to his ‘own negligence’ alone, and the company won on Monday.
The jury found the cruise company was not responsible for any of the claims lodged by the Skokan family.
Nathaniel’s family members, who had ‘pursued this action with the hope another family never has to experience such a tragedy,’ said they were disappointed, in a statement through their attorney, Michael Coyle to The Miami Herald on Monday.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for Nathaniel on the night before Christmas Eve in 2016, at around 5pm, after spending 38 hours searching for him.
The air and boat crews searched an area of 4,574 square miles.